Atlanta is not quite an elite football team. There, I said it. I sat in the SportsBook at Aliante Casino and Hotel here in Las Vegas with other random ATL fans to watch this game. I watched their faces and reactions in the first half; I noticed that we all came to the same realization about the same time. We’re not elite, and there’s a lot more work that needs to be done. Admitting this will only make us better as a fan base. Falcons fans must not go the way of the Braves fans, in denial and believing that our team is comparable to those teams you see deep in the playoffs. The Dallas Cowboys shouldn’t have posed as much of a challenge for us on Sunday.
7-0 vs 3-4. I don’t need to apply logistic regression to make sense of these numbers. Record alone would show that Atlanta is a better football team. Dallas failed to take advantage of Atlanta’s poor run defense only running 18 plays on the ground versus their average 24. To make matters worse, the Cowboys struggled to convert on 3rd down, 30% versus their pregame average of 43%. Dallas didn’t turn the ball over, but as usual they found a way to lose the game on their own. Enough about Dallas, my focus is on Atlanta and its inability, dare I say refusal, to be an elite football team.
Statistically, Dallas and Atlanta are very similar teams. Yards per game, total yards, pass heavy offense, third down conversion, etc. The difference between these teams is Matt Ryan, clutch plays, and the schedule. Yes I said the schedule! Dallas has played 5 of 7 games against division leaders. Matty Ice threw for 342 yards, Turner ran for over 100 yards with a TD, and both Julio Jones and Roddy White caught for over 100 yards. So what the heck happened in this game? Why am I so furious?! The red zone efficiency in this game was lacking; 4 trips to the red zone and only 1 score. Come on Maaaaaaannnn!!!! I can’t deny that if Bryant had made those 2 missed kicks, the score would have been 25-13, and I wouldn’t be as upset. Elite teams take care of business in the red zone, bottom line.
At home this season the Falcons margin of victory is only 3.3 points per win versus 15 points per win on the road. Random items: Matt Bryant missed 2 kicks and Matty Ice broke his streak of consecutive games having thrown a TD. These close games versus NFL nobodies won’t cut it in the playoffs. Rise Up, seriously.